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tv   MSNBC Live  MSNBC  January 30, 2013 8:00am-9:00am PST

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good morning, we want to get you back to the senate judiciary committee, where wayne lapierre is testifying. >> sons and daughters -- >> please step forward. >> thank you, mr. chairman. it's an honor to be here on the behalf of more than 4.5 million moms and dads and sons and daughters in every state across our nation who make up the national rifle association of america. there are 4.5 million active members of the nra and they are joined by tens of millions much supporters throughout the country. it's on behalf of those millions of decent hard working law-abiding citizens that i'm here today to give voice to their concerns. the title of today's hearings is what should america do about gun violence? we believe the answer to that question is to be honest about what works and honest about what doesn't work. teaching safe and responsible
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gun ownership works and nra has a long and proud history of doing exactly that. our child safety program told 25 million young children if they see a gun they should do four things, stop, don't touch it, leave the area and call an adult. as a result of this and other private sector programs, fatal firearms accidents are at the lowest level in 100 years. the nra has over 80,000 certified instructors who teach our military personnel and law enforcement officers and hundreds and thousands of other men and women how to savely use firearms. we do more and spend more than anyone else on teaching safe and responsible gun ownership. we join the nation in sorrow over the tragedy that occurred in newtown, connecticut. there's nothing more precious than our children. we have no more sacred duty than to protect our children and to
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keep them safe. that's why we ask former congressman and undersecretary of homeland security hutchinson to bring in every available expert to develop a model school shield program, one that can be individually tailored to make our schools as safe as possible. it's time to throw an immediate blan ket of security around our children. about a third of our schools right now have armed security already because it works. and that number is growing every day. right now state officials local authorities and school districts in 50 states are considering their own plans to protect children in schools. in addition, we need to enforce the thousands of gun laws already on the books. prosecuting criminals who misuse firearms works. unfortunately, we see a dramatic
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collapse in federal gun prosecutions in recent years. in 2011, federal firearms prosecutions per capita were down 35% from their peak in the previous administration. that means violent felons violent gang members and drug dealers with guns and the mentally ill possess firearms are not being prosecuted. and that is completely and totally unacceptable. more than 76,000 firearms purchased denied by the federal instant check system, only 62 were referred for prosecution and only 44 were actually prosecuted. proposing more gun laws while failing to enforce the thousands we already have, it's not a serious solution for reducing crime. i think we can also agree our mental health system is broken. we need to look at the full range of mental health issues from early detection to
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treatment to civil commitment laws and privacy laws that needlessly prevent mental health records from being included in the national instant check system. while we're ready to participate in a meaningful effort to solve these pressing problems, we must respectively but honestly and firmly disagree with some members of the committee and many in the media and all of the gun control groups on what will keep our kids and keep our streets safe. law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals, nor do we believe the government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families. as i said earlier, we need to be honest about what works and what does not work. proposals that would only serve to prevent the law abiding have failed in the past and will fail in the future. semiautomatic firearm technology has been around for many years and hunting and target shooting
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and self-defense, despite this fact, congress banned to manufacturer and sale of hundreds of semiautomatic magazines from '94 to 2004. independent st independent studies proved it had no impact on lowering crime. when it comes to background checks, let's be honest. they'll never be universal because criminals will never submit to them. there are a lot of things that can be done and we ask you to join with us, the nra has made up of millions of americans that support what works. the immediate protection for all, not just some of our school children is what's needed. and swift certain punishment of criminals who misuse guns and fixing our mental health system. we love our families and love our country. we believe in freedom and we're the millions from all walks of life who take responsibility for our safety and protection as a god-given fundamental american
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right. thank you. >> thank you. now, chief johnson, let me begin with you if i could, in my experience many -- >> i'm thomas roberts at msnbc headquarters in new york. we've been watching the testimony of wayne lapierre, the ceo of the nra, one of the many called to the hill to testify on the senate judiciary full committee val situation of what should america do by violence. gabry elle giffords coming in and testifying very powerful to lead out this morning's hearing. i want to welcome connecticut senator blumenthal, your immediate reaction to wayne lapierre, he referenced what took place in newtown, connecticut and heartbreaking loss of children, saying there's nothing more precious than our children and also basically
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saying that the idea of more gun laws is not the action that needs to be taken but it's more of the evaluation of instituting an enforcing the gun laws we already have. >> i think that mr. lapierre ignores what really was enormously powerful, even riveting testimony from gabby giffords and her instruction to our committee, the judiciary committee and congress itself, to be bold, to be courageous, because america is counting on you. and the call to action that came from newtown is for better enforcement of existing laws but also new laws that will enable better enforcement. we can have common ground with mr. lapierre that better enforcement of existing laws is necessary, but that leads in my view inevitably for the call for more background checks on the 40% of all firearms purchases
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that right now are within the exemption of the gun show loophole and private sale and background checks on ammunition purchases. background checks, for example, and other sensible measures like stronger action against trafficking and straw purchases and including a ban on assault weapons are within the common ground that i think we ought to try to establish here. >> senator, for those just joining us, we have been keeping the coverage live going this morning of what's been taking place there on the hill with you and your colleagues. for those that may have missed it. i want to replay what former congresswoman giffords said to you all this morning. >> violence is a big problem. too many children are dying. too many children. we must do something. the time is now.
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you must act. be bold, be courageous. americans are counting on you. >> be bold, be courageous, americans are counting on you. still in recovery after being shot, almost murdered two years ago in tucson, arizona. her husband, captain mark kelly one of the first witnesses to testified saying loughner was able to squeeze off 33 different rounds in a matter of 15 seconds because of the glock he had with the extended magazine clip and taken down trying to put in a must magazine clip into that weapon. what is your reaction to having had former congresswoman giffords there to open the hearings today. she's lending a powerful voice and draws the emotion to that. do you think her voice will break through to some of those that are more hardened of the
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idea of new gun reregulations? >> her voice alone would not break through but it's combined with the tragedy in newtown, 26 innocent beautiful people, 20 wonderful children, 6 great educators who very likely would be alive today if america had heeded the call before now for stronger measures against gun violence. her voice is an extraordinary beacon. and mark kelly's admonition that this time must be different, this time must be different, i think also will carry great weight. but most important, we need to seek common ground with responsible gun owners and the second amendment as mark kelly emphasized is the law of the land and people have a right to possess firearms but responsible gun owners and users can be in favor of measures that will prevent the kind of horrific
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tragedy that occurred in newtown. i was there literally within hours of that shooting. and anybody who was there has to be affected by it. >> i want to ask you to stand by. mark kelly is being asked questions by the panel. >> possibly been in the national instant background check system about him that would have prevented him from buying a gun through a background check. that's part of the solution. the other problem, let's say he was denied, denied the purchase of the gun which he purchased in november of 2010, it would have been very easy for him to go to a gun show and purchase a gun without a background check. so you know, there are several things that need to be done and in my opinion and in gabby's opinion, this is one of the most important things we must do to prevent criminals, terrorists and the mentally ill from having easy access to guns. closing the gun show loophole and requiring private sellers to
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require a background check before they transfer a gun is -- i mean, for us, i can't think of something that would make our country safer than doing just that. >> thank you. >> and mr. lapierre, in 1999 you testified by the house judiciary committee and you testified quote, nobody is more committed than we are to keeping guns out of criminals hands. >> you're listening to more of the testimony of captain mark kelly referencing jared loughner, who fired the shots in tucson, arizona, that injured his wife and killed many others and talking about how easy it was for loughner to walk into a sporting goods store and purchase that weapon with the extended magazine clip on there. senator blumenthal has stepped out to answer some of our questions. based on what your home state has gone through and people talking about newtown within this hearing itself, i want to
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show everybody the statistics of what the gun interest has been on background checks and people wanting to get guns. so as we look at this, it's really staggering to see exactly how many people have actually reached out to get guns. as we look at the numbers -- can we put it back up, gang? previous top day for checks, november 30, 1998, 177,000 new top week for checks, december 17th through the 28th, right after the newtown shootings, 953,000 upward, almost a million. as we look at this and the necessity, obviously, sir, to keep in check that americans supported through the supreme court in 2008 by the majority person that through the second amendment we have a right to bear arms. there is a logical connection with people wanting to facilitate having a right to that. but does it make you worry that
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there is not enough emphasis on what needs to be done for amending gun violence in the country based on these numbers? >> what it emphasizes i think is the need for those background checks. right now, the law prohibits fugitives and felons and seriously mentally ill domestic users under court orders and certain categories of people who should not have guns to actually buy them. there's a vast exemption, the gun show loophole enables private sellers to do so without any background check whatsoever and for the same people to walk into a shop and buy unlimited amounts of ammunition, a shopping cart full without any background check whatsoever. those instant background checks done in less than 30 seconds with the data base we have now, that needs to be improved are key to stopping gun violence. even as we respect the second
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amendment and responsible gun ownership and also trafficking and straw sales. the illegal sales of those weapons. there are enforcement measures and i know from my background in law enforcement as attorney general of the state of connecticut for 20 years and federal prosecutor, u.s. attorney for four and a half years, that these laws can make a difference. and i think better enforcement, stronger enforcement and laws that enable us to keep guns and ammunition out of the hands of people who shouldn't have them. >> senator blumenthal we'll let you get back to the hearing and we'll go back and listen to wayne lapierre who has been asked about the prosecution of people who have gotten weapons illegally and he's blaming the current administration for not going after them more actively. >> mr. lapierre my time is up. with all due respect, that was not the question i asked nor did you answer it. >> i think it is the answer. i honestly do -- >> okay. >> it's your testimony.
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>> senator grassley. >> before i ask questions, senator hatch asked if i would explain to everybody here why he left. he's ranking member of the finance committee and senator -- >> we continue to watch the hearing that's taking place on what to do about gun violence in the country. we'll take a quick commercial break and take you back there live right after this. this is f. this is f. step seven point two one two. verify and lock. command is locked. five seconds. three, two, one. standing by for capture. the most innovative software on the planet... dragon is captured. is connecting today's leading companies to places beyond it. siemens. answers. humans.
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this is an important conversation for our children, for our communities, for democrats and republicans speaking is difficult. but i need to say something
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important. violence is a big problem. >> that was former congresswoman gabby giffords appearing this morning before the senate judiciary committee got started, testifying about what it's been like for her and what she hopes they would do on the hill with bold and courageous leadership to stop violence in the country. just while this has been going on in alabama, we have information that a man shot and killed a school bus driver and took a child hostage. we are continuing to watch this ongoing standoff. thn we go to chicago where three people were killed jed, including a teen who performed at president obama's inauguration. in vegas, four people were shot at the home last night and three killed and gunman opened fire at the office building. that's an update on the most recent gun violence in our country right now. joining me is democratic congresswoman debbie wasserman-shultz. your reaction to seeing gabby
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giffords opening up the hearing this morning. do you think the voice will resonate through to some of those not wanting to hear about changes needed? >> i think gabby is strong and clear message today, which was full of strength and emotion as based on her personal experience but also based on her track record as a supporter of the second amendment will absolutely have a tremendous impact. i do agree with senator blumenthal that by itself, gabby's voice -- it's going to be tough for it to penetrate all the way through the millions and millions of dollars that the nra has spent over the years. but that's why she and mark started americans for responsible solutions. it is a grass roots organization that's going to push the proposals that they believe are important like banning high
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capacity magazines and making sure we have universal background checks. it's absolutely essential that what we pass ultimately is based on what americans across the country and nra and gun rights supporters overwhelmingly believe is essential, that we keep guns that don't believe in the hands of criminals out of those hands and also that we make sure we reduce gun violence. the nra is clearly dramatically out of step with the mainstream america on this. >> one really important point to make sure everybody realizes, when captain mark kelly testified and also gabby giffords said in the past, they are gun owners and do support the second amendment, even after the tragedy their family has been through. i want to talk about your home state of florida. a local florida paper reported earlier while florida is home to the most gun permits in the country, firearm violence is at a record low. the numbers also show in 2011,
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guns were used in more than 70% of homicides. so how strong is the political will to put gun reform in states with constituents who are big on their guns front and center? >> well, for example, this afternoon, thomas, i have a roundtable here in my congressional district with gun rights supporters, life nra members who don't agree with the nra position that we shouldn't do anything to make sure that we reduce the kinds of weapons that are available to the average person and that we need to look at background checks and make sure they are universal and high capacity magazines. i'm looking to heard from those gun rights supporters. i think what it's going to take though, is going toe to toe with the nra to make sure candidates and incumbent elected officials have the resources ultimately. this is going to be a political fight. they are going to need the
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resources to go toe to toe with the nra so they not only have the political courage that comes from rank in file constituents that support common sense reform, but also that they know that they are not going to get drowned by a tsunami of nra money that prevents us from really addressing this issue and making sure that we can head past common sense reform. >> i want your take on a different topic because hillary clinton sat down for an interview with andrea mitchell who asked her about the future. obviously asking about 2016. and asked if health could be a factor in deciding whether to run again. i want to give you the secretary's response to that. >> i'm healthy enough and my stamina is great enough and i'll be fully recovered to do whatever i choose to do. but i don't have any decisions made -- >> so, you were a big supporter, i'll remind everybody, of mrs. clinton in '08 before switching to support the president.
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it was a brutal primary, do you think she's going to go for it in 2016? i ask not only as congresswoman but the dnc chair who tweeted out, to continue to what we do best, out work and organize our way to victory. >> i think what secretary clinton is going to do is exactly what is he said to take a well earned rest and make sure she spends time with her family, pondering next few years, focusing on what i'm sure will be her charitable work and all of the causes she passionately believes in. she'll postpone a decision about her future for a little while after she gets through and does that. but she's a remarkable woman. healthwise she's in great shape. i was with her the other night in washington. she looks fantastic. she's strong and res loout and america will benefit and the world will benefit from whatever
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decision she makes about her future. >> with your dnc chair hat on, i want to be clear about this, if you had a dream candidate that you wanted to outwork and pull to victory for, is she the dream candidate? >> with my dnc hat on, i am switzerland as a chair of the democratic national committee, there are going to potentially be a range of candidates, secretary clinton will be one of the incredibly strong candidates if she decides to run. i know she's not anywhere near a decision like that. right now i know she's focused on her immediate future which is to get well-earned rest, whether it's vice president biden or secretary clinton or anyone of a number of very strong potential candidates, we have a deep bench who will be in well position to carry on what will be a remarkable legacy leflt by president obama. >> debbie wasserman-shultz, aka
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switzerland. i want to pass along, you can catch more of andrea mitchell's sit-down interview with hillary clinton coming up today at 1:00 p.m. eastern. we're back with much more right after this. meet the 5-passenger ford c-max hybrid. when you're carrying a lot of weight, c-max has a nice little trait, you see, c-max helps you load your freight, with its foot-activated lift gate. but that's not all you'll see, cause c-max also beats prius v, with better mpg. say hi to the all-new 47 combined mpg c-max hybrid.
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welcome back, we want to show you live pictures of a house in aurora alabama town, where s.w.a.t. teams are trying to defuse a hostage situation. a man is holded up in an underground shelter with a 6-year-old child. the suspect was due in court today to answer to a charge of threatening his neighbors. last night officials reported that the suspect shot and killed a 66-year-old school bus driver before fleeing with that child that is now being held hostage. this is taking place in alabama, s.w.a.t. teams are on the scene there. we'll keep you posted if there's any movement on that hostage situation. we switch gears to talk about the u.s. economy and it shrank a
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tenth of a percent, the first time in three and a half years. thousands of residents are in the dark of severe storms and help is on the way for millions impacted by hurricane sandy. president obama signing a $55 billion aid package in emergency relief. in syria, an unprecedented mass murder much civilians, the bodies of 65 people found near a river, some with their hands tied behind their backs. toyota is recalling 1 million of its kroel las and lexus sedans manufactured between 2001 and 2004 because the air bags can improperly inflate. in japan, a major airliner is reporting it replaced batteries of dreamliner jet liner ten times before they were gounded earlier this month. another black eye for baseball. new york yankees star alex rodriguez is among seven major
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leaguers who bought performance enhancing drugs as recently as last year. we want to take you back to the big story we've been following this morning. the committee hearing taking place on what to do about gun violence in america. the five panelists are remaining there to be asked questions by the senate judiciary full committee there. there's senator leahy. let's listen in. >> i'm going to go back and forth going seniority and go to senator sessions. but i'll announce that all members can put statements in the record by the close of business today as -- >> again, the testimony taking place there on capitol hill, we want to bring in our power panel to talk about what we've seen so far. we have the white house reporter for the "washington post," ben la bolt, former national press secretary for obama 2012
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campaign and chief congressional responsibility for "the washington examiner." we have a lot to talk about as we've been watching powerful and informative testimony from the hill. i want to start off with reminding everybody what we've heard so far, the two biggest names to testify at least that have been in the news the most, captain mark kelly and wayne lapierre. >> after 20 kids and 6 of their teachers were gunned down in their classrooms at sandy hook elementary, we said, this time must be different. something needs to be done. >> law-abiding gun owners will not accept blame for the acts of violent or deranged criminals. nor do we believe that government should dictate what we can lawfully own and use to protect our families. >> the hearings started off just to remind everybody, congresswoman -- former congresswoman gabrielle giffords came in to open up the hearings
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and requesting bold and courageous leadership. her husband being one of the first witnesses to testify, the last being the nra ceo wayne lapier lapierre. when we examine fully the testimony itself and where the senate judiciary committee takes this testimony from here, because it seems as if the senate is really going to need to push on this to get something over to the house. has harry reid been noncommittal on whether or not he supports bringing this legislation to the floor? >> he's in a tough position. he's in a state where he has enjoyed support from a number of those who support gun rights. and the nra, so for him it's a tricky situation. i think it's going to be -- you've asked debbie wasserman-shultz, does her voice resonate. of course it does emotional. i was there when she got a standing ovation and hugged the president, but it's going to be
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a tough road to ho. i think you'll see folks say, let's have a smaller piece of legislation that might be more acceptable to conservatives who don't want to go too far. the universal background checks is the most likely and the bigger issues enjoy almost 90% in public polling but the bigger issue will be harder to achieve. >> the nra is talking about what they feel is the obvious choice in all of this, it's not more gun regulation, it's enforcing laws we have on the books and evaluating mental health and the fact they think more schools to avoid school shootings need more armed security. the nra statistics since the newtown shooting, 4.5 million people current membership, they report a 400,000 surge in membership, 8,000 a day week after the shooting. ben, when you look at those numbers and now we know the
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president is unleashing his organization for america basically the campaign artillery, to try to get people informed about this issue, do you think that can overtake where the nra is coming from in its position and what it feels about the second amendment? >> absolutely. let's remember that public opinion is already there. 90% support universal background checks and yet wayne lapierre won't support it. so the american population is there. we've got to change the political cal cue husband and look at mayor bloomberg's super pac. jesse jackson jr.'s seat, two leading candidates who have an a or a minus from the nra, mayor bloomberg's super pac is going to be flooding the air waves in support of the candidate who got an f from the nra. i think you'll see candidates just as fearful as an organization like that as actually representing where the american people are as they are
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of the nra. >> we just saw the renewed assault weapons ban introduced by senator dianne feinstein inside this committee hearing right now. susan, i want to talk to you about that. there doesn't seem to be much of an appetite of that from pro gun senate democrats right now. but do you think something could get done piece by piece starting with universal background checks, that that could be something that could be broken across the aisle? >> yes, among all of the options, universal background checks has clearly -- i agree with what david was saying, it has the best shot. even harry reid from nevada and is a gun owner, obviously it's hard for him but he's not up for re-election for four years and that if he runs again. there are many democrats up in 2014 from pro gun states who will be really vulnerable voting on something an assault weapons ban. i think what -- sort of a back door escape for the senate will be to put this pressure on the
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floor that would allow for an assault weapons ban but leave it open to amendment, in other words, it could be weakened easily by other amendments on the floor. it will kind of give cover to democrats who will be vulnerable from this, but the ultimate result will be, i think, just universal background checks. that's the maximum you're going to see here just for political reasons. and i think that even if the future, it's going to be hard, even if the congress is democratic on both sides because democrats are vulnerable on this issue as well as republicans. >> our power panel, thanks for being patient where me. i appreciate it. i appreciate your time. of course, we are following this breaking news elsewhere today coming out of massachusetts where governor duvall patrick made his pick as a interim replacement for john kerry, his name mo cowan, we'll have a break down of who he is after this. look what mommy is having.
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breaking news we've been covering, the huge announcements of due val patrick announcing his interim replacement. it's not congressman markey or frank and not vickie kennedy, who expressed no interest in the seat whatsoever. instead it's someone unknown out ofside of massachusetts, the former chief of staff, william mo cowan. joining me now with insight on who the new interim senator is, i want to play for everybody, though, so they can hear from cowan himself what he said in
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reference to this appointment by the governor. >> there is no greater calling than to be able to go and serve the people of massachusetts, to give back to the state that has given so much to me. >> no greater calling. now the interim senator will be in place after john kerry becomes the official secretary of state. we know as we explain the number of heavy hitters that duvall patrick could have picked. explain why he is putting him in this spot. >> some of the folks you mentioned earlier are people all known to folks in d.c., but not necessarily in massachusetts. remember, politics is always personal. and mo cowan is somebody who has been friends with duvall patrick for a long time since they've been lawyers in the boston area. he was the chief of staff as you noted. one point of history, this is the first time there's two black senators serving at the same time in the senate.
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they were both appointed -- also another senator put in place was also appointed who is african-american and the last elected african-american to the senate was barack obama. a little bit of history being made and that's one part why deval patrick made this pick. >> when we talk about the fact he's going to be the placeholder, there's going to be a special election. scott brown, former massachusetts senator that was beaten by elizabeth warren leaning strongly towards running in the race and this new poll showing brown could crush ed markey if the race were held today. there anyone with star power to take down scott power if he throws his hat into the ring? >> the primary will be april 30th and election will be june 25th. ed markey looks like the person who will emerge as the democratic kabd candidate. it's always difficult for a member of congress because they are only known in their neck of the woods so to speak to gain statewide influence.
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it's difference also than a presidential election when scott brown had a difficult time beating elizabeth warren because about 200,000 barack obama voters would have had had to vote for scott brown. most people thought scott brown would hold out and run for governor but i think seeing these poll numbers has pushed him back into wanting to run for his old job. >> we want to remind everybody, john kerry, sailing to confirmation yesterday, 94-3, with only senators ted cruz and john cornyn against him. the official resignation coming on friday. this is really interesting now, elizabeth warren just sworn in this month becomes the senior senator for massachusetts. has her profile been upped more than it already was? because that was an election we watched nationally. >> clearly her profile has been pretty strong especially with progressives coming in, whether or not she would get that banking seat. but the fact she is now the senior senator for
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massachusetts, that is a remarkable shift considering where just a few years ago you had john kerry and ted kennedy both very senior members, now massachusetts has dropped down the list. it doesn't up her standing at all in the senate necessarily, but she is now the senior senator for massachusetts. >> yeah. it's a fast rise for her, 2013 starting off really well. thanks so much, i appreciate it. >> you're welcome. >> one republican senator says he is backing former nebraska senator chuck hagel for secretary of defense. according to roll call, cochran plans to vote in favor of hagel. being seen as a positive sign and if confirmed after what's expected to be a contentious hearing tomorrow, hagel would replace leon panetta, one of seven departing cabinet members including the latest transportation secretary ray
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lahood. six others are remaining on board but that could change into the new year. as we also continue to watch the hearing on gun violence, gabby giffords husband and wayne lapierre testifying. how are they dealing with this serious issue? i'll talk with phoenix mayor greg stanton coming up next. ♪ shimmy, shimmy chocolate. ♪ we, we chocolate cross over. ♪ yeah, we chocolate cross over. ♪ [ male announcer ] introducing fiber one 80 calorie chocolate cereal. ♪ chocolate.
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speech from las vegas.
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>> sometimes for the discussion of take on a feeling of us versus them. when that happens, a lot of folks forget most of us used to be them. unless you're one of the first americans, a native american, you came from someplace else somebody brought you. >> joining me now is mayor greg stantonarizona. he flew to las vegas to be with the president during that speech. great to see you today. you heard the president loud and clear on his plan for immigration reform. it's almost word for what what he's been talking about for a long time. i want to remind everybody exactly how long. take a look. >> it is good to be back in las vegas. >> hello, el paso. well, it is wonderful, wonderful to be back. >> i'm here because most
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americans agree that it's time to fix the system that's been broken for way too long. >> everybody recognizes the system's broken. >> that's why we're here at the border today. >> where a broad consensus is emerging. >> there's a consensus around fixing what's broken. >> yes, they broke the rules. they crossed the border illegally. >> some crossed the border illegally. >> they've broken the rules. >> we have to bring our legal immigration system into the 21st century. >> reforming our outdated system of legal immigration. >> to help move this process along. today, i'm laying out my ideas for immigration reform. >> i'm going to do my part to lead a constructive and civil debate on these issues. >> these side-by-side statements here. the president's stance has remained the same. do you think in this new reality for republicans wanting to stay relevant that they are willing to talk about this now and the time is right to get something
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done on comprehensive immigration reform? >> we are at a wonderful moment when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform where good public policy and good politics seem to be coming together at the same time, and i was there at the speech, i think the president was right on. i think the bipartisan group of senators the day before were right on. i think what connects those two policy proposals is so much stronger than what divides them. i think we're headed to a very good place when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform, and it's going to be really good for my city of phoenix, arizona. really good for my state of arizona, as well as really important to our local economy, so i am optimistic and i am excited we're heading in the right direction. >> we talk about this wake-up call on the right. john mccain appeared at a politico breakfast with chuck schumer. i want to play his reaction to comprehensive immigration reform. >> i think the republican party, not mitt romney, not anybody
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else, but the republican party, has failed to understand to a significant degree the importance of this issue to our hispanic voter. republicans, we're not all monolithic, but we have not been more sensitive to these hopes and dreams and aspirations, and it has been reflected in the ballot. >> so, if senator mccain is being the voice of reason, then we can show examples of republican congressman lou bartletta of pennsylvania, the majority here illegally are low-skilled or may not have a high school diploma. the republican party is not going to compete over who can give more social programs out. they'll become democrats because of their social programs, they'll depend on it. will anything change in the minds of those extremely conservative lawmakers like that? can a voice like john mccain be one to help? as you know, you are a democrat in the sea of red in the state of arizona. >> well, look, i'm proud of senator mccain for taking a lead
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on this issue, and i'm proud of senator jeff lake, our other republican senator, who's also part of the gang of eight, part of the bipartisan senate proposal. when you have those two type of leaders coming to the table on comprehensive immigration reform, i think we're headed in the right direction. too much is made about the politics of it. i'm a mayor, all i care about is economic development and jobs in my city. all i know is passage of the dream act, passage of comprehensive immigration reform is good for my economy here. we need to improve trade relations with mexico. inaction by congress has hurt us here in arizona. it's time to act and move in the right direction. this is going to help our local economy. >> one thing we've also been covering, mayor, the gun control, gun violence debate. i want to bring in david sicilinni. gabby giffords testifying this
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morning, an emotional plea. you've become part of the mayors against illegal guns and congressman, i want to ask you, what's your reaction to having heard the testimony of gabby giffords today and the impact that she can make in having common sense conversation about the debate? >> well, i mean, i hope the testimony of congresswoman giffords is compelling to members of the senate. look, we need to enact common sense gun safety legislation. we need to fix the broken background check system to be sure that criminals and people seriously mentally ill don't have access to guns. we need to close loopholes at gun shows and fire sales when a gun dealer has a licensed revoked. there's things we can do. there's legislation to fix those things. no one is suggesting people don't have a right to a firearm, but we need to make sure people with no right to a gun, convicted of a crime, serious mental illness, don't have access to firearms, and we need to protect our communities.
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there's good common sense answers to this. we should be working together to move with the president's agenda. we owe it to childrens and families all across this country who have been victims of gun violence because of a very broken system. >> gentleman, i want to thank you for your time today and apologize for our abbreviated time together. because of our breaking news, that closes it out for me this afternoon. i appreciate it. that's going to wrap things up for me. see you back tomorrow, chuck hagel will be in the hot seat for his senate confirmation hearing. joining me, jack jacobs, patrick murphy, the first iraq war vet to serve in congress, former governor rendell and joy ann reid. don't go anywhere, "now with alex wagner" next.
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